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Ricci-Vitiani L.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Pallini R.,Catholic University of Rome | Biffoni M.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Todaro M.,University of Palermo | And 9 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2010

Glioblastoma is a highly angiogenetic malignancy, the neoformed vessels of which are thought to arise by sprouting of pre-existing brain capillaries. The recent demonstration that a population of glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs) maintains glioblastomas indicates that the progeny of these cells may not be confined to the neural lineage. Normal neural stem cells are able to differentiate into functional endothelial cells. The connection between neural stem cells and the endothelial compartment seems to be critical in glioblastoma, where cancer stem cells closely interact with the vascular niche and promote angiogenesis through the release of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and stromal-derived factor 1 (refs 5-9). Here we show that a variable number (range 20-90%, mean 60.7%) of endothelial cells in glioblastoma carry the same genomic alteration as tumour cells, indicating that a significant portion of the vascular endothelium has a neoplastic origin. The vascular endothelium contained a subset of tumorigenic cells that produced highly vascularized anaplastic tumours with areas of vasculogenic mimicry in immunocompromised mice. In vitro culture of GSCs in endothelial conditions generated progeny with phenotypic and functional features of endothelial cells. Likewise, orthotopic or subcutaneous injection of GSCs in immunocompromised mice produced tumour xenografts, the vessels of which were primarily composed of human endothelial cells. Selective targeting of endothelial cells generated by GSCs in mouse xenografts resulted in tumour reduction and degeneration, indicating the functional relevance of the GSC-derived endothelial vessels. These findings describe a new mechanism for tumour vasculogenesis and may explain the presence of cancer-derived endothelial-like cells in several malignancies. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Bajetta E.,Institute of Oncology | Catena L.,Institute of Oncology | Fazio N.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Pusceddu S.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 9 more authors.
Cancer | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND Preclinical and clinical studies suggest synergistic activity between somatostatin analogues and mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors. The activity and safety of everolimus was assessed in combination with octreotide long-acting repeatable (LAR) in patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) of gastroenteropancreatic and lung origin. METHODS This was a phase 2, multicenter trial using a Simon's 2-stage minimax design. Treatment-naive patients with advanced well-differentiated NETs of gastroenteropancreatic tract and lung origin received everolimus 10 mg daily, in combination with octreotide LAR 30 mg every 28 days. The primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR). RESULTS A total of 50 patients (median age, 60.5 years) were enrolled. Primary tumor sites were: pancreas (14 patients), lung (11 patients), ileum (9 patients), jejunum and duodenum (2 patients), and unknown (14 patients). Thirteen patients (26%) had carcinoid syndrome. Treatment-related adverse events (AEs) were mostly grade 1 or 2; the only grade 4 AE was mucositis in 1 patient, whereas grade 3 AEs included skin rash in 1 case (2%), stomatitis in 4 cases (8%), and diarrhea in 11 cases (22%). The ORR was 18%; 2% of patients had a complete response (CR), 16% a partial response (PR) and 74% achieved stable disease (SD). All CRs and all PRs as well as 92% of SDs had a duration ≥6 months. The clinical benefit (CR+PR+SD) was 92%. At a median follow-up of 277 days, median time to progression and overall survival were not reached. CONCLUSIONS The everolimus-octreotide LAR combination was active and well tolerated in these previously treated patients with advanced NETs, suggesting a possible role as first-line treatment in patients with NET. © 2014 American Cancer Society.


Todaro M.,University of Palermo | Iovino F.,University of Palermo | Eterno V.,University of Palermo | Cammareri P.,University of Palermo | And 9 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2010

Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine malignancy and the first cause of death among endocrine cancers. We show that the tumorigenic capacity in thyroid cancer is confined in a small subpopulation of stem-like cells with high aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDHhigh) activity and unlimited replication potential. ALDHhigh cells can be expanded indefinitely in vitro as tumor spheres, which retain the tumorigenic potential upon delivery in immunocompromised mice. Orthotopic injection of minute numbers of thyroid cancer stem cells recapitulates the behavior of the parental tumor, including the aggressive metastatic features of undifferentiated thyroid carcinomas, which are sustained by constitutive activation of cMet and Akt in thyroid cancer stem cells. The identification of tumorigenic and metastagenic thyroid cancer cells may provide unprecedented preclinical tools for development and preclinical validation of novel targeted therapies. ©2010 AACR.


Coppola V.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Musumeci M.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Patrizii M.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Cannistraci A.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | And 12 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2013

Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in men. Despite significant advances in prostate cancer diagnosis and management, the molecular events involved in the transformation of normal prostate cells into cancer cells have not been fully understood. It is generally accepted that prostate cancer derives from the basal compartment while expressing luminal markers. We investigated whether downregulation of the basal protein B-cell translocation gene 2 (BTG2) is implicated in prostate cancer transformation and progression. Here we show that BTG2 loss can shift normal prostate basal cells towards luminal markers expression, a phenotype also accompanied by the appearance of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) traits. We also show that the overexpression of microRNA (miR)-21 suppresses BTG2 levels and promotes the acquisition of luminal markers and EMT in prostate cells. Furthermore, by using an innovative lentiviral vector able to compete with endogenous mRNA through the overexpression of the 3′-untranslated region of BTG2, we demonstrate that in prostate tumor cells, the levels of luminal and EMT markers can be reduced by derepression of BTG2 from microRNA-mediated control. Finally, we show that the loss of BTG2 expression confers to non-tumorigenic prostate cells ability to grow in an orthotopic murine model, thus demonstrating the central role of BTG2 downregulaton in prostate cancer biology. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Lombardo Y.,University of Palermo | Scopelliti A.,University of Palermo | Cammareri P.,Cellular and Molecular Oncology | Todaro M.,University of Palermo | And 7 more authors.
Gastroenterology | Year: 2011

Background & Aims: The limited clinical response observed in many patients with colorectal cancer may be related to the presence of chemoresistant colorectal cancer stem cells (CRC-SCs). Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) promotes the differentiation of normal colonic stem cells. We investigated whether BMP4 might be used to induce differentiation of CRC-SCs and for therapeutic purposes. Methods: CRC-SCs were isolated from 25 tumor samples based on expression of CD133 or using a selection culture medium. BMP4 expression and activity on CRC-SCs were evaluated in vitro; progeny of the stem cells were evaluated by immunofluorescence, immunoblot, and flow cytometry analyses. The potential therapeutic effect of BMP4 was assessed in immunocompromised mice after injection of CRC-SCs that responded to chemotherapy (n = 4) or that did not (n = 2). Results: CRC-SCs did not express BMP4 whereas differentiated cells did. Recombinant BMP4 promoted differentiation and apoptosis of CRC-SCs in 12 of 15 independent experiments; this effect did not depend on Small Mothers against decapentaplegic (Smad)4 expression level or microsatellite stability. BMP4 activated the canonical and noncanonical BMP signaling pathways, including phosphoInositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and PKB (protein kinase B)/AKT. Mutations in PI3K or loss of Phosphatase and Tensin homolog (PTEN) in Smad4-defective tumors made CRC-SCs unresponsive to BMP4. Administration of BMP4 to immunocompromised mice with tumors that arose from CRC-SCs increased the antitumor effects of 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin. Conclusions: BMP4 promotes terminal differentiation, apoptosis, and chemosensitization of CRC-SCs in tumors that do not have simultaneous mutations in Smad4 and constitutive activation of PI3K. BMP4 might be developed as a therapeutic agent against cancer stem cells in advanced colorectal tumors. © 2011 AGA Institute.


Zeuner A.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanit | De Maria R.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanit | De Maria R.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology
Cell Stem Cell | Year: 2011

A subpopulation of cancer cells is believed to be responsible for tumor initiation, propagation, and metastasis. In this issue of Cell Stem Cell, Dieter et al. (2011) show that these functions in colon cancer can be ascribed to distinct tumor-initiating cell populations. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Coppola V.,Instituto Superiore Sanita | De Maria R.,Instituto Superiore Sanita | De Maria R.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology | Bonci D.,Instituto Superiore Sanita
Endocrine-Related Cancer | Year: 2010

Despite much progress in prostate cancer management, new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools are needed to predict disease severity, choose among the available treatments and establish more effective therapies for advanced prostate cancer. In the last few years, compelling evidence has documented the role of microRNAs as new broad-spectrum oncogenes or tumour suppressor genes, thus their use as diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic biomolecules is envisaged. This review extensively and critically summarizes the current knowledge about microRNAderegulation in prostate cancer disease, underlining present limits and future perspectives. © 2010 Society for Endocrinology.


Eramo A.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Haas T.L.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Haas T.L.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology | De Maria R.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | De Maria R.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology
Oncogene | Year: 2010

Cancer stem cell (CSC) theory states that tumors are organized in a similar hierarchical manner as normal tissues, with a sub-population of tumorigenic stem-like cells that generate the more differentiated nontumorigenic tumor cells. CSCs are chemoresistant and seem to be responsible for tumor recurrence and formation of metastases. Therefore, the study of these cells may lead to crucial advances in the understanding of tumor biology as well as to innovative and more effective therapies. Lung cancer represents the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Despite improvements in medical and surgical management, patient survival rates remain stable at∼15%, calling for innovative strategies that may contribute to improve patient outcome. The discovery of lung CSCs and the possibility to characterize their biological properties may provide powerful translational tools to improve the clinical outcome of patients with lung cancer. In this report, we review what is known about lung CSCs and discuss the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic prospective of these findings. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Musumeci M.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Coppola V.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Addario A.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Patrizii M.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | And 14 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2011

The interaction between cancer cells and microenvironment has a critical role in tumor development and progression. Although microRNAs regulate all the major biological mechanisms, their influence on tumor microenvironment is largely unexplored. Here, we investigate the role of microRNAs in the tumor-supportive capacity of stromal cells. We demonstrated that miR-15 and miR-16 are downregulated in fibroblasts surrounding the prostate tumors of the majority of 23 patients analyzed. Such downregulation of miR-15 and miR-16 in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) promoted tumor growth and progression through the reduced post-transcriptional repression of Fgf-2 and its receptor Fgfr1, which act on both stromal and tumor cells to enhance cancer cell survival, proliferation and migration. Moreover, reconstitution of miR-15 and miR-16 impaired considerably the tumor-supportive capability of stromal cells in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest a molecular circuitry in which miR-15 and miR-16 and their correlated targets cooperate to promote tumor expansion and invasiveness through the concurrent activity on stromal and cancer cells, thus providing further support to the development of therapies aimed at reconstituting miR-15 and miR-16 in advanced prostate cancer. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Colarossi C.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology | Pino P.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology | Giuffrida D.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology | Aiello E.,Mediterranean Institute of Oncology | And 3 more authors.
Diagnostic Pathology | Year: 2013

Neuroendocrine carcinoma of the urinary bladder is a rare entity, accounting less then 1% of urinary bladder malignancies. The vast majority of the neuroendocrine carcinoma of the urinary bladder is represented by small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma while just few cases of large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) have been reported. In this cases report we describe a rare case of primary bladder LCNEC.Virtual Slides: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/2474700528951562. © 2013 Colarossi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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